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My Favorite Music of 2014

31 Dec

First, a disclaimer…

I don’t buy much music. Not as much as you might think. I’ll buy a few new country CDs, a classic rock CD here and there, and some music by indies and local artists a year. I listen to country and classic rock radio stations, old CCM, and like going to performances by local artists.

Also, this end-of-the-year review thing is new to me, so even though I know that I went to a few shows this year, I didn’t keep any notes on them. My memory plays tricks on me these days, too. I could have sworn that John Fogerty’s album Wrote a Song For Everyone came out in 2014, but when I checked the CD it turns out that it was released in 2013, a year and a half ago. I intend to keep better track of everything that I do this year so I can have a better list for next year.

Meanwhile, my favorites from this this year…

Album:

There were three albums this year that I knew about in advance that I could not wait to hear. They were Brad Paisley’s Moonshine in the Trunk, Bob Seger’s Ride Out, and Weird Al Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun. Brad Paisley is hands down the hottest guitar player I’ve heard in a long time, and he has a good blend of country sentiment and humor on his albums. Bob Seger is one of my favorite songwriters in rock. Weird Al is just a nut with a killer cover band. I loved every one of these albums.

The winner for my favorite, though, has to be Weird Al. To be honest, Weird Al is sometimes the only way I know what’s going on out there in the larger pop world. I was in a store and I could have sworn that Weird Al’s ‘Foil’ started playing over the PA. It took me a minute to realize, “Oh…that’s got to be ‘Royal’!” Weird Al is so much fun! His band is so versatile! Here are a couple of Weird Al videos in case you missed them:

Concert:
My favorite show this year was Creedence Clearwater Revisited at the Cascade Theater in Redding, Ca.
CCR has got to have the saddest story in rock. It’s amazing that after all of these years these guys still can’t put aside their differences and at least keep a peace treaty. Even the Eagles reconciled and toured again, for cryin’ out loud!

Anyway, even though the band is estranged into two camps, CCR is still responsible for some of the best rock songs ever written. I am just glad it can still be heard live by two-thirds of the surviving band members, anyway. Stu Cook (bass) and Doug ‘Cosmo’ Clifford (drums) started a band to keep the old songs alive when John Fogerty wasn’t playing them out of concern that he no longer owned the rights to them. It’s a complicated story. When I found out that CC Revisited was going to be playing Redding, I jumped on the chance to buy tickets. I never had a chance to see the original CCR, and John Fogerty has never played close enough to me to make it to a show.

What a fun show this was! From the fade in swamp guitar of Born On the Bayou through the celebration of Up Around the Bend, the old songs came alive. John Tristao has a voice made for these swamp rock songs. He’s not John Fogerty, but my wife Patsy actually prefers Tristao’s voice…gravelly and bluesy. The keyboard player had a homecoming. He’s from Redding! The lead guitarist was smooth. It was just a great evening of singing and dancing to great ol’ CCR tunes.

I’ve seen video of Fogerty playing the old CCR songs in concert and noticed a difference between what he does and what CC Revival does. I think that CC Revival’s versions sound closer to what the original albums sound like. Fogerty seems to interpret them a little bit more. He wrote them, of course, and he can certainly go however the music takes him, but there is no mistaking the original album version from anything he plays on stage now. When I listen to a playlist combining the original albums with CC Revisited, though, sometimes it’s hard to tell which band is playing on any particular song.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Culture, Music Review

 

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